For Christmas this year, my sister gave me a scratch off map, so for every country I travel to, I can come back and take a quarter to the country to reveal its color, in hopes of revealing the whole map one day. In two days, I’ll be that much closer.
I’m traveling abroad to Italy for the Spring 2016 semester through a CIEE program for language immersion in a town called Ferrara. It’s in the northern part of Italy in Emilia-Romagna. It’s about an hour outside of Venice and an hour outside of Milan, and from what I can tell, it’s a pretty average sized town. The good part about living here specifically is that it’s not really a touristy place, like Rome, Florence, or Venice, so there’s basically barely any english spoken and I have to put my seven-ish year of Italian to good use. I’m kind of nervous about this, since I didn’t take any Italian classes fall semester to catch up on my major so I could graduate on time, but since I’m an Italian minor (possibly double major), I’m hoping I’ll get the hang of it.
I’m doing a homestay – probably one of the things I’m most nervous about. But I think I got placed with a pretty good family. They’re in their 50’s with a son thats 22 and a 36 year old daughter. The parents are in charge of an international music festival every August, called Buskers Music Festival. Lovin’ it so far, but I’m nervous simply because I’ve heard a bunch of bad stories of people living with families and hating it. I chose it because I met with the undergrad advisor for Italian, Professor Rhiannon Welch, and she convinced me to take some leaps while I’m there. Plus, everyone else in my program is doing it so I don’t want to be the only one in a dorm, I’ll get a better experience, and I’m going to be saving money. And of course, I’m going to have an Italian mom cooking for me twice a day – who can say no to that?
I don’t know much else about my school, the family, or the town. I’ve been trying to do as much research as I can, but when you look up Italy, only big touristy cities come up. I know Ferrara has this beautiful walkway that has umbrellas hung above it, it’s a huge bike city, and there’s a wall surrounding the city.
It’s also a UNESCO site, pretty cool. I don’t have my schedule yet, but I start on January 13 with orientation for a couple days before starting my intensive Italian classes, which will be two weeks of me taking JUST Italian, refreshing on everything, before taking a placement test and assuring I’m able to take my classes.
So I’m freaking out a bit, but I’m pretty excited to say the least. I’m going to be visiting one of my really good friends from high school in London and staying with him for a few days first, then I’m going to be heading over to Italy on Jan. 12. Until then, I’m trying to stay as calm as possible, but it’s all pretty stressful preparation. It’s going to be worth it though, I don’t even doubt that.
I leave in two days, so I’ll try to make a blog post about me freaking out in the airport about how this is ACTUALLY happening.
(Also, in case anyone was wondering, the blog URL/first post are lyrics to a song called Maps by The Front Bottoms. Gotta take that pop punk mentality with me everywhere, even Europe.)